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U.S. Women’s National Team preview: High hopes in Women’s World Cup

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This U.S. Women’s National Team has been through a lot since the Women’s World Cup in Germany of 2011. Between player arrests, turf vs. grass debates and a coaching change, there have been a lot of distractions surrounding the team, not to mention being placed in one of the most difficult groups in the tournament.

Despite all of that this team is focused under Head Coach Jill Ellis who took over last year. Plus the US has the confidence knowing that they powered through the CONCACAF women’s championship combining for a score of 21-0 through their five games.

Sweden poses the biggest threat in the Group D that consists of the USWNT, Sweden, Australia and Nigeria. With the first two games being the most difficult, USWNT v. Australia (June 8th 7:30 pm ET – FOX Sports 1) followed by USWNT v. Sweden (June 12th 8 pm ET – FOX) then finishing up the group stages against Nigeria (June 16th 8 pm ET – FOX), a second place finish is likely which would force them to face a first place team in the first round of knock-outs. However this is a deep roster that contains some of the best players to ever step on a field for the United States including Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach who is currently the all-time international scoring leader.

Having said that, Alex Morgan is injured and will miss the beginning of the tournament, so it’ll be important to see her bounce back quickly to add strength to this team.

The likely set-up is a 4-4-2 with a fair amount of defenders and midfielders being brought to Canada as well as plenty of experience throughout the roster. With a staggering 2,488 total appearances between the 23 players, Ellis will be leaning heavily on her veteran players to help get through the high-pressure situations that only a World Cup can bring. Depth will play a big part in the games as the playing surface is turf, despite heavy criticism, and substitutes will need to be made for fresh legs.

SEE MORE — Meet the 23 players on the US squad at Women’s World Cup (videos).

Squad

Goalkeepers: Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)

Defenders: Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Whitney Engen (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)

Midfielders: Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)

Forwards: Sydney Leroux (Western NY Flash), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (unattached)

If the United States can get points from their first two games and beat Nigeria, they should be in a good position going into the knockouts, finishing second will likely face them against Brazil then Japan but this team has the energy and enthusiasm to go the distance in Canada.

Can the US women’s team go the distance and win the tournament knowing that the expectations are that they will win gold? We shall see.

 

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